Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Strategies for Managing Rogue States

Strategies for Managing Rogue States


In the ongoing debates on how to manage relations with rogue states such as North Korea and Iran, the opposing policies of both hawks and doves are unrealistic in their pure forms. Throughout American history, presidents have faced the same choices the Bush administration now has when dealing with adversaries abroad: appeasement, engagement, containment, rollback, and non-entanglement. Each of these five basic strategic alternatives has potential advantages and risks. In analyzing how these have applied to U.S. relations with Iraq, North Korea, and Iran—the so-called axis of evil—it becomes clear that rollback and appeasement are the riskiest options and containment the most promising. Elements of diplomacy, however, can be used in conjunction with a primary policy of containment to head off threats from rogue states.

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